Page 784 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 21 March 2017

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businesses that rely on them as customers. In very simple terms, they are the small businesses, the shops, the cafes, the hairdressers, the petrol stations and all of those other local businesses who rely on the custom of these workers.

On this side of the chamber we want to see people’s wages grow, not shrink, because we understand that strong wages are not only good for individual workers but also good for our economy as a whole.

MS CODY: Chief Minister, why are those who favour cutting penalty rates, including some members of this Assembly, wrong to suggest that this will lead to more employment and more business activity?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cody for the question. There is a very simple equation here and that is, as I indicated in my previous answer, that this reduction in wages will lead to a reduction in aggregate demand across our economy.

What will this mean? There will be a spread of the existing spend across more businesses, if you are to believe the shadow minister, Mr Wall, who says that this cut to wages will provide relief for hospitality and retail businesses. He suggested that it might go so far as to create new employment opportunities. That might be the case if there were to be a lift in aggregate demand, but there will not be. Unless there is a matching increase in workers’ pay or their ability to spend, simply having longer opening hours for some businesses will not leave our total business sector better off and it will not create more jobs than there were before. It is a very simple case of supply and demand.

Those opposite favour a low wage outcome for Canberrans. We favour a high wage outcome.


MADAM SPEAKER: Just before I get to you, Ms Le Couteur, and I apologise for being distracted before, members, I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of Mrs Temakei, the secretary of the public accounts committee of our twinned parliament, the Kiribati parliament. On behalf of all members, I wish you a very warm welcome to the Assembly here and to our city of Canberra.

Questions without notice

Government—office of LGBTIQ affairs

MS LE COUTEUR: My question is to the Chief Minister and relates to the office of LGBTIQ affairs. Chief Minister, I note that you that stated the office was established within the first 100 days of government. Can you please tell me what the office of LGBTIQ affairs has been working on since its inception?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Le Couteur for the question. The new office has been established within the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate. The office will have responsibility for supporting the work of the LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council, as well as taking a whole-of-government policy role across all areas of ACT government policy development.

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